The Street, Plaistow and The Drive, Ifold
Safer Bus Stops
The objective is to provide safer bus stops throughout the Parish to increase the use of the school and other public bus services.
The Parish has an aging population (borne out in the Neighbourhood Planning process) and a high dependency on private cars. The Parish Council will be in a stronger position to negotiate an increase to the bus services offered in the Parish if residents feel safe, willing, and able to use the bus stops.
Plaistow Road through Ifold is recognised by West Sussex County Council (WSCC) as being dangerous, with no pavements and/or street lighting. Consequently, WSCC provides a free school bus service. Unfortunately, the service is not well used. Part of the issue is due to safety; only two out of the five bus stops along Plaistow Road have designated laybys and shelters. During the week, Plaistow village becomes heavily congested with school traffic, which has a detrimental impact on village life. Increasing the use of the school bus service will reduce traffic on the Parish’s roads generally, and in Plaistow village specifically.
The two sites identified for this initial phase of the project have been specifically identified by residents as local priorities.
Phase One will provide a bus shelter for the residents of Plaistow village, and an improved shelter and safer waiting environment for the children who catch the school bus at The Drive, Ifold.
Residents of Plaistow village who use the local bus service regularly, have written to the Parish Council asking that a bus shelter and seating be provided as there is currently none in the village.
As one resident pointed out, "Kirdford has 2 [shelters], Loxwood 1".Plaistow in contrast does not benefit from any bus shelters whatsoever. The former shelter was vandalised by fire in the 1980s and has never been replaced. Since this time, a residential driveway has been built in the shelter’s original location.
The Parish Council recognises the priority need of these residents, due to age and/or their reliance on public transport to access vital services which cannot be met within the village itself.
The shelter will be built outside the Sun Inn pub, next to the BT telephone kiosk.
Although the designated bus stop is on the opposite side of the road, the bus in fact uses the Sun Inn car park to pull off the highway, therefore the shelter will be situated near to where the bus stops. This will offer the greatest support to users, as they will not have to cross the road on a blind bend and dangerous junction. The shelter and car park area benefit from an existing pathway, and a salt bin to ensure the pathway and shelter are not hazardous during the winter months. Those waiting for the bus can also benefit from the book exchange within the BT telephone kiosk. The telephone kiosk was adopted by the Parish Council in July 2020, and the book exchange is provided and managed by the Plaistow Village Trust.
The centre of Plaistow village is in a conservation area. The shelter has been sympathetically designed gratis by a local chartered surveyor, who specialises in historic and conservation buildings, to emulate the local style and surrounding buildings; incorporating feather edge weather board, green oak bracing, and plain clay tiled roof. Initially the shelter will look ‘new’, but the materials will weather appropriately to ensure the shelter blends in naturally with the surrounding buildings over time.
As part of the Parish wide Safer Bus Stop project, the Parish Council intends to update existing shelters, or install new ones which are all of the same style and design and in keeping with the rural visual amenity and aesthetic of the Parish to provide community homogeneity, without compromising on safety and functionality.
The grass verge identified as the most suitable location for the shelter is owned by the National Trust. The Parish Council has entered into an agreement with the National Trust to erect the bus shelter.
The Parish Council has the lawful power to provide roadside seats, shelters and bus shelters under s.1, Parish Council Act 1957 and s.4, Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1953.
It can build the bus shelter under Permitted Development Rights conferred by Part 12 Class A of the Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015. Each year, the Parish Council provides grant funding to the local community bus service for the benefit of residents, under s.27 Local Government and Rating Act 1997.
On 21st July 2020, WSCC Highways Department assessed the site to ensure the suitability of the positioning of the shelter (highway visibility / distance from the kerb / no obstruction of a public footpath). On 24th July 2020, WSCC Highways Department published a public consultation notice at the site for 28 days.
WSCC Highways Department have provided the Parish Council with a s.115e Highways Act 1980 license to place and maintain street furniture, such as a bus shelter, on the highway.
Public consultation: -
Improving road safety throughout the Parish is a priority for residents. Improving road safety will encourage greater use of bus services.
The Parish wide Safer Bus Stops project and associated traffic calming measures have been in train since October 2018, and are community driven. The need has been consistently demonstrated through the Neighbourhood Planning process; public consultations - most recently in June 2021 - and residents raising issues directly with the Parish Council.
In 2018/2019 the Parish Council successfully applied for a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to change the speed limit along Plaistow Road, Ifold from 40mph to 30mph. In the first part of 2020 the Parish Council invested in an interactive Speed Indicator Devise (SID). The Parish Council has supported Ifold residents to set up a Community Speed Watch initiative and funded the equipment.
The Parish Council is currently applying for TROs in Plaistow:
(1) To extend the 30mph speed limit along Rickman’s Lane to protect school children walking to and from the school bus drop off/pick up point at Bushfield. Like Plaistow Road in Ifold, Rickman’s Lane has no pavements and/or street lighting and is national speed limit.
(2) To improve road safety within Plaistow, with an improved School Safety Zone.
The initiatives have been discussed during public meetings; during the Parish Council’s Annual Assemblies; within articles published in the Parish News; on the Parish Council’s website and Facebook page and within the Parish Council's bi-annual E-Newsletter (to sign up to receive the E-Newsletter via email, visit here).
The Parish Council works with Plaistow and Kirdford Primary School; Ifold Estates Ltd; the Plaistow Village Trust and other local groups / residents’ association to inform and deliver projects.
In September 2020, the Parish Council wrote to all the immediate neighbours of the Plaistow bus shelter to inform them of the design and project details, and to ensure that they had an opportunity to provide their thoughts and feedback.
On 9th September 2020, the Plaistow Village Trust attended a full meeting of the Parish Council to discus the project.
The Drive, Ifold Bus Stop
The bus stop is well established and used daily by predominantly children commuting to the local secondary school in Billingshurst.
The site also accommodates the local post-box and defibrillator - installed within the BT telephone kiosk, adopted and renovated by the Parish Council. Utility service personnel also access the area.
However, the general area, and particularly the bus stop, is dangerous. It is used as a 'slip road' for those leaving Ifold estate and joining the Plaistow Road. The original bus shelter (owned by the Parish Council) was inconveniently located away from where the bus pulls off the highway and caused children to wait at a dangerous junction, with traffic entering and leaving the estate, sometimes at speed. Children then had to walk along the road to get on the bus.
The Parish Council has worked with a group of fantastic volunteers - ably supported by Angela Palmerton of Natural Gardens - Ifold Estates Ltd, and the national charity Butterfly Conservation to revitalise the entire bus stop area and improve its safety. Not only has the area been transformed into abio-diverse conservation heaven for the rare Wood White butterfly and other minibeasts; the area now has a network of paths away from the road, to allow children to access the bus and shelter safety. The new shelter will be located away from the dangerous junction.
The two complementary projects have improved an area which was generally run down and which negatively impacted the visual amenity of Ifold to the concern of residents. To find out more about the linked conservation project, please click here.
The new shelter will be built at the designated bus stop, where the bus pulls in off the carriageway. By clearing the area, space has been created. A new network of paths will take children away from the road, to the bus shelter, where they can wait away from the dangerous junction.
The shelter design is the same as in Plaistow, however will be slightly larger due to the number of children who catch the school bus.
The Parish Council owned the previous bus shelter, which was carefully dismantled in March 2022. The new shelter will use some of the original materials, where possible.
The land is owned by WSCC Highways.
The Parish Council has a Standard Form of Consent which provides permission for the general improvements to the site.
On 21st July 2020, WSCC Highways Department assessed the site to ensure the suitability of the positioning of the shelter (highway visibility / distance from the kerb / no obstruction of a public footpath).
On 24th July 2020, WSCC Highways Department published a public consultation notice at the site for 28 days.
WSCC Highways Department have provided the Parish Council with a s.115e Highways Act 1980 license to place and maintain Street Furniture, such as a bus shelter, on the highway.
As in Plaistow above, the Parish Council has the lawful power to provide/build roadside seats, shelters and bus shelters.
Both shelterswill be built by WSCC’s Partnerships and Communities Team, which is part of WSCC's Communities & Public Protection Directorate.
Darren Rolfe, Senior Community Solutions Officer, heads up a specialist team of trained volunteers who support communities who wish to undertake locally identified, community led projects.
The exact length of time to build the two shelters will depend on the number of volunteers available on any given day.
The oak for the project will be supplied by Miliam Ltd, Kirdford.
Mr Rolfe and his team responsibly source materials from local independent businesses and build to any bespoke design. The team have built other bus shelters in West Sussex and within conservation areas (Rogate, Easebourne and Findon Valley).
You can help!
If you would like to join Mr Rolfe's team of volunteers you are most welcome. There is no minimum time commitment and all tools/equipment are supplied. You will be trained, where necessary and the team are fully insured and have access to first aid. Please contact the Clerk for further information: - email@example.com
The Communities Team have a £0 budget and so the cost of materials is borne by the Parish Council; however, their labour, time and expertise are gratis. Utilising the skill and buying power of WSCC’s Communities & Public Protection Directorate, the Parish Council can deliver two bespoke bus shelters at a significantly reduced cost. Buying 1 commercial wooden shelter can cost around £10,000.
In 2020/21 and 2021/22 the Parish Council successfully applied to the Chichester District Council 'New Homes Bonus (Parish Allocations)' grant funding scheme to fund the build of the two bus shelters. The Parish Council has a ring-fenced budget of £6,000 for Phase One of the Safer Bus Stop project.
The Parish Council organises two community litter-pick/maintenance days each year; one in the spring and the other in autumn. The bus shelters will be cleaned/maintained as part of these established community events. Any issues arising at other times will be addressed, as necessary. The Shelters will be insured by the Parish Council.
Why the delay?
Both shelters were due to be built in April 2020. However, the pandemic prevented almost all normal activity for both the Parish Council and WSCC. Mr Rolfe's Partnerships and Communities Team were deployed to support WSCC and communities during the pandemic, and their pandemic support work continued sometime after 'normal life' resumed. Once they returned to the 'day job' they had to work through a waiting list of projects.
Mr Rolfe had hoped to begin the build in March 2022 (hence the early decommissioning of the original Ifold shelter – this was done in good faith only days before the build was scheduled to begin). However, his team were re-deployed by WSCC to support the County Council's efforts regarding both Afghan and Ukrainian refugees.
In September 2022, Mr Rolfe contacted the Parish Council to advise that his team were back doing their 'day job' and had scheduled the build of Plaistow and Ifold Parish Council's two shelters for November 2022.
Unfortunately, the Team were delayed on their prior commitment, due to technical issues and so the build was 'pushed back'. The builds were re-scheduled for 16th February - 31st March 2023. However, due tounforeseen health concerns the timescales were further delayed (June/July 2023) and then again to later in the year.
The Parish Council are in regular contact with the Team.